“The Secret Life of Pets 2” the sequel of the first film from 2016, will probably make a gazillion dollars this weekend, (it goes wide on June 7th) but it shouldn’t. It’s a film only kids would like for the first ½ hour or so. Then for sure they’ll start to be bored. The animation is good of course, Illumination does that well, but the story is lazy and the film has a sense of arrogance about it. All surprising considering that director Chris Renaud brought us the original “Secret Life” and the “Despicable Me” movies. Something has gone wrong. This is filmmaking hubris.
The plot is slight, dogs Max (Patton Oswalt) and Duke (Eric Stonestreet) have a new addition to their family, baby Liam. They all quickly become best pals. Their neighbor the bunny Snowball (Kevin Hart) gets dressed up as a superhero by his little girl owner. When they go to a relative’s farm, Max asks his Pomeranian friend Gidget (Jenny Slate) to guard it for him. While at the farm, Max and Duke bond with the herding dog Rooster (Harrison Ford) who is impatient with them at the same time.
Another story playing out is the quest for that toy, which Snowball leads along with helping a new dog Shih Tzu friend Daisy (an annoying Tiffany Haddish) help free a tiger from a Russian circus.
The film is arrogant because it does nothing to further the cause of helping animals, or showing kids how precious animals and their well- being are. It’s pointless, kind of dismal and dark, rarely funny and manic at times. It’s a shame that the filmmakers did not use their platform to truly further the cause of animals. “Secret Life of Pets 2” sets the bar low and achieves just that.